Date of release: Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Exam results day is a stressful time for any student, but what happens when you don't get the grades you need or do better than expected?

The University of Greenwich has put together six top tips for making Clearing as stress free as possible and ensuring you go to the university that's right for you.

Before results day

1. Do your research

Draw up a list of alternative universities that offer the courses you are interested in so you're prepared on results day. If possible, visit universities you're interested in before results day, as this will help you decide which one you want to go for when you get your Clearing offers. Most universities offer campus tours or Open Days around Clearing so keep an eye on their websites.

2.Prepare for Clearing

Collect all the documents and information you'll need on results day: your UCAS number, Clearing number, your UCAS points, A-level and GCSE grades. Make a note of Clearing phone numbers and opening times so you're ready to go first thing on results day.

On results day

3. Get on the phone

Start calling the universities you're interested in as early as you can. Think of the phone call as an interview. Plan what you're going to say – why you want to study the course, your deep interest in a subject. These are all things that could get you a verbal offer which you can confirm later.

4. Be flexible

If there aren't any places on the course you want to do, you could consider a joint honours or similar course that does have spaces. It could lead to the same or similar careers.

5. Decide on a course

If the university confirms that it will accept you, you can then add the choice in Track in the 'Your Choices' section. Don't forget that you can speak to as many universities and colleges as you like in Clearing, but you can only add one Clearing choice at a time – the one you want to accept.

6. Enter your Clearing choice on UCAS Track

The earliest you can submit your decision through Clearing is 3pm on A-level results day. This allows you to research the course and institutions properly before making any decision. Only enter a Clearing choice on UCAS Track if you have spoken to the university and have been offered a provisional place.